Representing more than 6,000 members from allied countries the world over, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) is entering its 38th year and is the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to unmanned systems. Through its mission “to promote and support the unmanned systems industry through communication, education, and leadership,” the organization hosts numerous events throughout the year.
The largest of these events, and indeed the world’s largest unmanned systems event, is AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems North America Symposium and Exhibition. Housed this year in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC from the 15th to the 19th of August, the event boasted over 6,500 attendees. Among these attendees were commercial and defense operators, CEOs and high-level decision makers, policy makers, and both government and industry program managers who all gathered to review and discuss the current state of the unmanned systems market. In addition to these attendees were more than 450 exhibitors, who made ample use of the convention center’s 473,000 square feet of exhibit space.
Several representatives from the University of North Dakota’s Center of Excellence (COE) in Unmanned Research, Education, and Training were in attendance as exhibitors, as were members from the North Dakota UAS Team. UAS Course Manager, Mike Nelson commented, “North Dakota was well represented this year, with members from both the COE and the North Dakota UAS Team.” He continued “Our purpose was to further promote [the COE] in each of its three main pillars, research, education, and training, to industry.”The COE primarily acts to provide a conduit between private industry and UAS researchers, promoting commercialization of new UAS related products and services while bringing new UAS related business ventures to North Dakota. Similarly, the North Dakota UAS Team was promoting the state’s support of new and expanding UAS businesses. Among these promotions was highlighting the efforts of North Dakota’s universities to develop advanced technologies in UAS airframe, payload, and systems integration, as well as their leadership role in the development of UAS airspace infrastructure and integration into the National Airspace System (NAS).
The University of North Dakota’s COE in Unmanned Research, Education, and Training and the North Dakota UAS Team both plan to attend next year’s AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America Symposium and Exhibition, which is scheduled to be in Las Vegas, NV from August 7th to the 10th 2012.